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Posts Tagged ‘lawyers’

Requiring a pinky promise of a court order [i]s woefully insufficient [to prevent surveillance abuse].  –  Ron Wyden

Stalkers in Blue

Just protecting and serving:

The Department of Justice has charged [Adrian O. Pena,] a Deputy U.S. Marshal for…using access to a controversial phone tracking service offered by a company called Securus to track the physical location of people he had personal relationships with as well as their spouses…between September 2016 and October 2017…He did this by uploading fake documents to the Securus platform that he claimed gave him authority to obtain requested location data…Securus is a massive prison and law enforcement contractor that, among many other things, previously offered a service for geolocating nearly all phones in the United States called Location Based Services…

The Spiral of Absurdity (#916) 

All prohibitionism is the same:

According to [fantasists at] the…DEA…teens simply message a sequence of emojis that symbolize the substance they’re after so that their dealer can avoid any kind of digital detection.  The secret codes also help youngsters keep their habits a secret from their parents, who likely have no idea what the emojis actually represent.  Now, the DEA has released a chart titled “Emoji Drug Code: Decoded ” to [spread disinformation] about the [reasons for]…the soaring number of adolescent overdose deaths

Crying for Nanny (#1037)

The only winners are the ambulance-chasers:

A [professional “survivor”] who brought a civil lawsuit seeking [to cash in with a FOSTA-enabled nuisance “]sex trafficking[” lawsuit]…against Craigslist [is out of luck, as he lawyers should’ve told her, because]…the online service is immune from the claims under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act…

Creepy Coppers

Seems like a significant fraction of child porn is spread by cops:

Maryland [cop] Daniel Morozewicz…has…pleaded guilty to possessing and distributing over 12,000 files of child pornography…on the BitTorrent file sharing network.  Morozewicz also used multiple electronic devices to download and distribute child pornography involving [toddlers] and infants…

Unsafe for Human Consumption (#1208)

Media stenographers are always happy to indulge cops’ violent fantasies:

The Kansas City, Kansas Police Department is [spread]ing [moronic copaganda] about…fentanyl…[an important medicine which, despite a fantasy popular among cops, is not an aerosol and cannot be absorbed through casual] exposure…[a hysterical pig named] Dallas Thompson [suffered a panic attack when he thought he was exposed, and] his [gang wasted] five rounds of Narcan [despite that medicine only being effective vs opiates, not panic attacks.  But] the [prohibitionist gang] is still e[ager to tell tall tales about drugs and brag about what might heroes they supposedly are]…

Hint: if five doses of Narcan doesn’t help, you’re not overdosing on opioids.

The Puritan Recrudescence (#1230)

Journalism is slowly dying of gullibility:

The New Yorker…staff writer Sheelah Kolhatkar wrote a lengthy feature detailing horrific allegations of child sexual abuse material allegedly uploaded to Pornhub…[and] spend[ing] thousands of words praising #Traffickinghub creator…Laila Mickelwait for [supposedly] helping women…Kolhatkar…describes Mickelwait designating Pornhub a sex-trafficking ring before highlighting her supposed mission: holding Pornhub’s parent company MindGeek “accountable”.  The problem is that despite Mickelwait’s protestations, her goal isn’t to save victims.  It’s to abolish the porn industry…

Goodbye, ACLU; Hello FIRE

Here are FIRE’s first new ads; there are five in all and they’ll play in sequence.

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If there is one succinct statement which sums up my political philosophy, it’s “Every adult individual owns themselves and absolutely nobody has the right to overrule that.”  There is no such thing as “legitimate” authority over an individual except that conferred personally by that individual for themelves and no one else, and even that can be revoked by the granter.  And I’ve stated many times that my definition of “evil” is “The attempt to impose control over an individual which that individual neither desires or requires”.  I will oppose to the death any attempt to impose such undesired control over any individual, and have done so my entire adult life; my advocacy for sex work is really only the most visible manifestation of that philosophical core.  So obviously, I’m going to provide any assistance I can to any person threatened by violent busybodies who claim the “right” to control their bodies and lives, no matter what reasons the authoritarians may claim.  With that in mind, here are just a few resources for women living in states trying to assert control over their bodies:

Medication Abortions Are Increasing: What They Are and Where Women Get Them” (NY Times)

Aid Accesssupports people with an unwanted pregnancy to access an abortion or miscarriage treatment if you are health and less than 10 weeks pregnant“.

Hey Jane provides “Modern abortion care for $249 — no clinic visit needed.  Get fast, safe and affordable abortion pills shipped to your home. Consult with a medical provider within 24 hours. Medications are shipped daily.

Plan Cprovides up-to-date information on how people in the U.S. are accessing at-home abortion pill options online.”

Las Libres provides support to “Women who wish to terminate undesirable pregnancies, offering them access to medical abortion and moral support

Reproaction offers this instructional video:

And if, Aphrodite forbid, you should get in some kind of legal trouble due to busybodies claiming control over your own body, the Repro Legal Defense Fund may be able to help.

Please link this page far and wide, and add any more resources you know of in the comments below.  Some states are attempting to criminalize those who “aid and abet” a person to get an abortion, so please feel free to pass the links on to those who may need them (anonymously, if neccesary); I’m used to being an outlaw so I don’t honestly care if Missouri or Texas or Louisiana decides to add one more to my mountanous heap of “crimes” of denying the state control over individual lives.  And if you have other sources you think I should know about directly, send them to me via this link.

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The pursuit of sex buyers…functions…[by] targeting people in the sex trade and result[s] in forced evictions, deportations and police harassment.  –  Niina Vuolajärvi

Maggie in the Media

Bound By the Cloak is a new-ish podcast whose tagline is, “Candid conversations about the unspoken”.  Episode 6 is entitled “Grande Horizontale”, so you can probably guess who is interviewed in it.  Give it a listen; I think you’ll enjoy it even if you’ve heard me talk about these topics before.

Sales Pitch

If the Swedish model is so successful, why are they threatening to increase the penalties?

The European Sex Worker Alliance (ESWA) is circulating a petition in solidarity with Swedish sex worker activists fighting a politically motivated attempt to require mandatory jail time for their clients…the…threat…has been Trojan-Horsed into…a series of legal reforms [driven]…by various sex panics fostered by the press…

Smoke and Mirrors

Another of those cases whose reported details don’t add up:

On April 8, a [man] and his teenage daughter were at a Dallas Mavericks basketball game…in Dallas.  Just before halftime, the daughter left her seat to use the restroom.  After she didn’t return, the father went to look for her and notified arena security, staff, and Dallas police of her being missing…lawyer Zeke Fortenberry…[claims] the family repeatedly called Dallas police to help find their daughter…[but] Dallas police…didn’t make any efforts to locate the girl…[so] the family reached out to a [rescueindustry group called] the Texas Counter-Trafficking Initiative…[which claims it] found [her pictures] on a[n escort] website…in Oklahoma City…and…Oklahoma City police…[found her] at an Extended Stay America…on April 18 and several people were arrested…Fortenberry [was quick to point fingers at]…the Dallas Mavericks…the [stadium, and the hotel, using the required “]failed to protect the victim[” language indicating he plans to sue them and]…Dallas police [using the novel legal construction of vicarious liability which has become popular among ambulance-chasers]…

If Men Were Angels

“Pastors” are as bad as cops:

A pastor [named]…John William Lovelace…in Ayden, North Carolina, was charged…with [various crimes of rape and sexual assault, and]…is also facing two counts of statutory [rape of] a child under the age of 15…

Winding Down (#1179)

It’s too bad Washington only supports self-ownership where drugs are concerned, not sex:

Drug-reform advocates, doctors, and politicians have initiated a ballot measure, Initiative 1922, to remove the penalties for possessing drugs of any kind in the state of Washington, including cocaine, heroin, and hallucinogenic mushrooms.  Led by a coalition group called Commit to Change WA, the proposed [measure would also]…dedicat[e] $141 million…each year to substance use treatment and prevention…the funds…would come from cannabis taxes the state is already receiving…Sponsors of the initiative have until July 8 to collect almost 325,000 valid signatures of registered Washington voters to qualify for a spot on the statewide ballot in November…

Creepy Coppers

Your “leaders” apparently also want you to refer to spreading child porn as “correction”:

Tennessee [screw]…Michael Vernon White, has been charged with possession of “hundreds of items” of child porn…[discovered] after an Internet service provider detected and reported multiple uploads of sexual images and videos depicting young girls.  The number associated with the uploads was linked back to White…

The Cop Myth (#1205)

Why are people shocked when men paid and encouraged to behave violently, behave violently?

An…NYPD [cop named]…Kevin Marcial…was suspended…following…his [attempt to shoot his] girlfriend’s husband [after he saw the latter behind him in traffic]…Marcial turned around and fired a shot at the [husband, but missed]…The outraged husband showed up later at a nearby police station and reported the [attack], as well as Marcial and the love triangle.  Cops at first [refused to] believe him, but the husband gave [them] the…license plate number, which they traced back to Marcial.  A shell casing was also found at the scene…police reached out to Marcial, who, with his lawyer, [later] surrendered…An NYPD spokeswoman s[pun this as] Marcial “self-report[ing]” the shooting…

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Scapegoating Gen Z…belies the enduring hold of sex-negativity on our culture.  –  Asa Seresin

To Molest and Rape

It’s gradually becoming slightly less rare for reporters to describe the actions of rapist cops as rape:

A [typical and representative Kansas cop] is facing over two dozen charges…[for] raping a woman while [wearing his magical clown costume]…Jonathan Gardner…[is mostly being] charged with…official misconduct…[because he stalked potential victims using] Kansas [cop shop computer]…systems…

Disaster (#996)

A timid but possibly important challenge to FOSTA from inside Congress, take 2:

…a few members of Congress are…at least willing to consider the possibility that they messed up in passing FOSTA.  To this end, they’re backing legislation that would further study [its] effects…and of the Justice Department’s shutdown of websites—like Backpage and Rentboy—popular for sex worker advertising.  First introduced in 2019, these measures promptly flopped.  Now, their sponsors—Ro Khanna…Barbara Lee…Elizabeth Warren…and Ron Wyden…are trying again…In the findings section of the bill, the [politicians] explain (with a shocking lack of moral panic) how the government’s war on sex work advertising has caused a number of reported harms, and how FOSTA…increased it…Khanna—one of just 25 House members and two senators who voted against FOSTA—[said that]…he hoped getting more data on FOSTA’s effects would be unobjectionable—and useful for eventual repeal…Techdirt editor Mike Masnick…is skeptical. When it comes to sex trafficking, Congress just “wants to pretend to care about these issues so it can get headlines and go on TV to look serious about how it’s ‘solving’ these problems”…

I’m at least as skeptical as Masnick is, but I was pleasantly surprised to see Ron Wyden actually tweet that “Sex workers deserve equal and full labor protection and dignity under the law.

Disaster (#1151)

They’ve chased this ambulance from Austin to Washington and back:

The [US] Supreme Court declined…to settle a question presented by a[n opportunist and her lawyers] looking to [cash in on a novel theory of] Facebook’s [legal] liability in a case where she [claim]s that she was “sex trafficked as a minor” because the social media platform “[allowed her to communicate with someone she now says was] a sex trafficker.”  The case had already gone all the way up to the Texas Supreme Court, although that tribunal’s decision pointed out the issues with trying to determine Section 230 protections, particularly in a case that also invoked FOSTA-SESTA.  [Though] the Supreme Court denied the request to take up the question…Justice Clarence Thomas added a statement opining that “although the case was not appropriate for court review, Congress should revisit the scope of Section 230”…

I Spy (#1166)

It looks as though at least one court is attempting to grow a spine:

[So-called “geofence”] warrants reverse the expectations of probable cause by turning everyone in a[n]…area into a suspect before investigators work backwards from the location data to generate a list of most likely suspects…[cops] have used these for years…[but] courts are paying more attention now…cops were investigating shootings at a motel in Fairfax County [Virginia, and]…had no suspects so they asked Google to generate them a list of people who had been in the area at the time of the shooting…[including] identifying data…the court…reject[ed] this warrant…Probable cause is the baseline and geofence warrants don’t even try to approach that constitutional guideline…Law enforcement either needs to do a whole lot better crafting these so-called warrants or, better yet, go back to the basics and start looking for suspects first, rather than trying to blunder their way into them by sifting through tons of unrelated data.

Why I Wait (#1177)

Somebody whose name isn’t Maggie McNeill is actually applying critical thought to this claim:

…a widely-held belief [holds] that…Gen Z, like the porn-sceptic feminists of the 70s and 80s, is a sex-negative generation.  Evidence routinely cited to support this belief includes the so-called “sex recession”…and the annual intergenerational battles over kink at Pride.  The idea that young people are abstaining from sex has even crystalised into a neologism: the Puriteen…young people who profess to avoid sex [do so] for a number of reasons: because they find it “objectifying”, “dangerous”, “uncomfortable”, “fucked up and scary”; because they are “exceptionally concerned with trauma and consent”; because casual sex makes them feel “used”…such statements have a political history…that risks falling from view when sex-negativity is treated as if Gen Z invented it.  By invoking objectification, instrumentalization, trauma, and consent, these young people – consciously or not – are using terms handed down to them by feminism…While it might seem like a paradox that [even] some young queers are expressing sex-negative views, the historical legacy of lesbian feminism proves that it isn’t paradoxical at all…

The Cop Myth (#1178)

Another cost of America’s sick worship of state-sanctioned violence:

…more than 7,600 [cops’ violent incompetence]…has more than once led to payouts to resolve lawsuits…[the] Washington Post…collected data on nearly 40,000 payments at 25 of the nation’s largest [cop shops] within the past decade, documenting more than $3.2 billion spent to settle claims…The total amounts further confirm the broad costs associated with police misconduct, as reported last year by FiveThirtyEight and the Marshall Project…more than 1,200 off[enders]…had been the subject of at least five payments.  More than 200 had 10 or more.  The repetition is the hidden cost of [police] misconduct: [cops] whose conduct was at issue in more than one payment accounted for more than $1.5 billion, or nearly half of the money spent by the departments to [sweep reports under the rug]…

To Molest and Rape (#1209)

Another specimen of the garbage the state pays to violate kids:

A [cop paid by the state to stalk, harass, and spy on students] at Auburn High School [in New York molested]…a student…William T. Morrissey, III has been charged with first-degree sexual abuse, official misconduct and endangering the welfare of a child…Auburn [politicians found out about the molestation via]…an anonymous written complaint in the mail…

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America[ns]…associate sin or indulgence with desserts.  –  Oona Hanson

Sisters in Arms

I’m repurposing this disused tag to highlight sex worker activism of this type:

Sex workers around the world, and many of the platforms they use, have spent the last week rallying support for their colleagues stranded on the ground in Ukraine…[sex workers] have developed a strong track record in recent years of mobilising for victims of disasters and ensuring they see the money that has been raised for them…even the platforms Ukrainian sex workers depend on to make a living have made serious efforts to make their support known.  OnlyFans made a donation of 500 Ethereum, equivalent to about $US1.5 million, to UkraineDAO on Saturday, one of a legion of crypto organisations raising millions of dollars…for Ukraine…payment app…Paxum…is currently working…to connect workers with transport at Ukraine’s border with Romania, where they would then be offered free accommodation…On Twitter, sex workers can regularly be seen urging their clients and fans to donate to individual causes that are as narrowly targeted as a life-saving surgery, or as broad as a global campaign to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for victims of bushfires, as was seen in Australia in 2020

The Widening Gyre (#698) 

Long-time readers may recall that I called this a hoax as soon as the story broke:

Sherri Papini, the California [woman] who disappeared for weeks in 2016 and claimed she’d been kidnapped at gunpoint, made up the story and had been staying with an ex-boyfriend…Papini…was arrested for…lying to investigators in 2020 when presented with evidence the kidnapping was faked and of defrauding California out of more than $30,000 in victim assistance money…Papini…[re]appear[ed]…on…Interstate 5 in rural Yolo County, with a chain around her waist and a “brand” on her shoulder she [pretended] was inflicted by her captors…[but] were [in reality] self-inflicted [with a wood-burning tool.  Papini, who had a history of posting on white nationalist sites, pretended]…two [armed] Hispanic women…kept her captive…[but] in 2020, DNA found on Papini’s clothes…led investigators to her ex-boyfriend…[who] told [them] that Papini asked him for help and needed to get away, that he agreed to drive to pick her up in Redding, and that she stayed at his home in Costa Mesa in the Los Angeles area the whole time…eventually she asked to be driven back to Northern California…

Working From Home

As long as sex work is marginalized, sex workers will be targets for creeps:

A 20-year-old man…hid…in the attic of a [New Hampshire] woman he [followed] online through…OnlyFans…Mauricio Damian-Guerrero…[ha]s [been] charged with…burglary…for…br[eaking] into [her] home multiple times and t[aking] video of the woman’s private areas while she slept…he admitted [to cops that] he [also planned] to tape [a tracking device] to…he[r]…car…he…appeared to have been in the attic for a period of time, as [the woman] found food, a cup with urine in it, and a pair of headphones [in her attic.  He tricked her into giving him]…her address b[y claiming] he wanted to buy her a TV and fireplace…he [also]…admitted…that before breaking into the [house], which is…he[r mother’s] home, he had broken into her Dover, New Hampshire, apartment multiple times…

You Were Warned (#1134)

Prohibitionists, censors and profiteers will continue to harass businesses thus until FOSTA is overturned:

A [cabal] of [ambulance-chasers] currently appealing a dismissed lawsuit against Reddit…[have] renew[ed] their claim that Section 230 protections should not shield the social media platform…from allegations of “profiting off of child pornography” over user-generated content…through an…increasingly…[popular but still legally] novel doctrine of “constructive knowledge,” as opposed to actual knowledge…

Their Own Petard

When we agreed to trick other people into cages with face-eating leopards, we didn’t know the leopards would eat our faces!

Marissa Sanchez [and the other plaintiffs]…in an ongoing lawsuit…against the [Houston, Texas] Constables’ Office…and [several of its boss cops]…They [agreed to participate in an elaborate scam]…in which [cops fantasy role-played as]…partygoers…[and] prostitutes…[in an attempt to ruin the lives of] sex workers [and their partners and friends]…Instead of capturing [imaginary “]traffickers[“]…they were subjected to [the same] sexual harassment…molestation…and sexual ridicule…that [they were happy to inflict on other women who never did them any harm]…

Thou Shalt Not (#1206)

Crypto-moralism rots people’s brains:

Girl Scouts, and the women who lead their troops and volunteer with them during cookie season, say that the…tradition of face-to-face sales is increasingly accompanied by…angry tirades from adults who want to lecture them about [those adult’s beliefs about] healthy eating…or rant about the group’s rumored (and false) link to Planned Parenthood…”I feel like in the last 10 years, and maybe especially since the pandemic, that people are getting even more aggressive”…[said] Oona Hanson, a Scouting parent in Los Angeles…she’s seen [oafs] make comments about weight gain, tell girls they can’t trust themselves to have Thin Mints in the house, or even yell at girls for “poisoning” people…Other [cretins]…have…harassed [girls] for…the use of palm oil in the cookies.  Widely used in commercial baked goods, the oil [has become] controversial [among people who think of themselves as environmentalists] because its production can lead to deforestation and disrupt the habitat of endangered species…a…[rumor started in] 2004…[by] the leader of an anti-abortion group in Waco, Texas…has stuck…among…anti-abortion [fanatics, who act out by] harassing [girls too young to even know]…what an abortion is…

The Cop Myth (#1217)

41% of cops admit to beating their wives; some don’t stop with mere beating:

[Typical and representative Georgia cop] Michael Perrault was found guilty on all counts…in…the Feb. 2020 [murder] of [his wife] Amanda Perrault…he…[was] sentenced to life in prison without parole…Perrault was initially arrested on Jan. 28, 2020 [for] battery on his wife…[and] was released on…bond…Days later…Michael claimed she killed herself in front of him…[but] there…[was] a long history of domestic abuse…[and Sheriff Howard] Sills testified it was obvious [to him] from the jump that Perrault had killed his wife and tried to stage it based on details at the scene.  A neighbor who gave Amanda refuge in their home also testified saying she told them, “If anything happened, she didn’t kill herself”…

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There have always been efforts to censor books, but what we’re seeing right now is frankly unprecedented.  –  Carolyn Foote

Damned If You Don’t

Everyone harmed by “prostitution stings” needs to keep suing over them:

A man is suing the City of Myrtle Beach [South Carolina, and its cop shop, for enabling a sow who nonconsentually involved him in her creepy fantasy roleplay to]…wrongfully arrest…him for prostitution…Ronald Thomas Uhrie…stopped at a local gas station to purchase a drink and some scratch-off tickets when he saw a woman waving frantically at him in the parking lot…because it was dark and rainy he could not tell if he knew her or not, and so he pulled over to speak to her…[when h]e asked the woman if she needed anything…she replied that she needed $20 for oral sex.  Uhrie…[t]he[n] rolled up his window and left, not knowing the woman…was a [disguised sow out to ruin men’s lives.  Her cronies stole]…his truck…and [publicized their lies, resulting in Uhrie being] fired from his position as a diesel mechanic…unemployment…was denied because the…[government claimed people who talk to strange women who seem to be in distress deserve to starve to death in a gutter]…The [bogus] charges against Urhie…were later dismissed…Urhie is seeking lost wages, front pay, future lost wages and benefits, compensatory and consequential damages and attorney’s fees and costs…

Scapegoats (#449)

Once again, vanillas reveal themselves as the true perverts:

…In Pennsylvania, Maine, Michigan, and Iowa in recent months, school board meetings have been disrupted by [people claiming] that educators are giving special treatment to furry students…the widespread hoaxes play into a broader right-wing effort to discredit and demand further control over public education…The rumors simmered for months in districts like Central York [Pennsylvania] last year, where a “concerned parents” Facebook group promoted fears that furries “could be in your child’s classroom hissing at your child and licking themselves”…in Michigan’s Midland school district [one parent claimed]…“I heard that at least one of our schools in our town, has in one of the unisex bathrooms a litter box for the kids that identify as cats”…the [hoaxe]s soon spread to Texas, where a [politician]…claim[ed]…“Cafeteria tables are being lowered in certain…middle and high schools to allow ‘furries’ to more easily eat without utensils or their hands”…chatter about litter boxes and doggie bowls display a misunderstanding about…furries[, who] do not literally believe they are non-human animals…a furry might play-act the role of a cartoon animal, but when nature calls, she’ll step out of character and remove her costume to use a normal toilet…

You Were Warned (#1060)

You just can’t keep a bad law down:

People don’t want outsiders reading their private messages —not their physical mail, not their texts, not their DMs, nothing.  It’s a clear and obvious point, but one place it doesn’t seem to have reached is the U.S. Senate.  A group of [politicians] led by…Richard Blumenthal…and…Lindsey Graham…have re-introduced the EARN IT Act, an incredibly unpopular bill from 2020 that was dropped in the face of overwhelming opposition….the…Act would [create]…a massive new surveillance system, run by private companies, that would…scan every message sent online and report [anything that tripped error-prone algorithms] to law enforcement…anything hosted online—backups, websites, cloud photos, and more—[would be] scanned.  The bill empowers every U.S. state or territory to create sweeping new Internet regulations…as long as they somehow [include the magic word]…child…the bill [also] creates a 19-person federal commission, dominated by [pigs and spooks], which will lay out [compulso]ry “best practices” for attacking…online [privacy]…

Top Cop (#1103)

Copmala will never let go of her hatred of sex workers:

Kamala Harris is back to [ly]ing…about human trafficking.  In a speech to the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Harris—who has a long history of dishonesty about sex trafficking—said that “in 2020 alone, there were 11,000 instances of human trafficking that were reported in the United States.”  Where did Harris get that figure?  From calls to the Polaris Project’s national human trafficking hotline…but the large numbers Polaris puts out are…just a tally of contacts to the hotline.  That includes pranks, cranks, and people reporting sightings of consensual sex work.  It’s refreshing (and all too rare) to see a major news outlet acknowledge this reality, as The Washington Post‘s Glenn Kessler did in a column last week…Kessler — who has previously tackled other false or misleading claims about human trafficking — points out that the Polaris numbers are mostly anecdotal…and…only about a third of these “potential cases” are even reported by Polaris to law enforcement.  They don’t know how many of those prompt the police to open an investigation, let alone what those investigations uncover…

The End of the Beginning (#1153) 

This would at last truly be the beginning of the end for these evil laws:

In March, the Council of the American Law Institute will meet to vote on revisions to the Model Penal Code…Though not legally binding, the Model…[h]as [been] hugely influential [since first published in 1962], with a majority of states adopting it wholly or in part.  The current revision, almost a decade in the making, will guide states to update their laws based on knowledge that we’ve acquired over the past 60 years.  The proposed revision recommends limiting the convictions that trigger [“sex offender”] registration to the most serious [actual] sex crimes…eliminating unrestricted public notification of registrants…and capping the maximum registration period to 15 years, in the absence of new sex crimes.  Crucially, the revised code recommends ending the practice of placing children on registries, except in rare cases of youth convicted in adult court of violent sex crimes committed at age 16 or older…

Thought Control (#1200)

There is nothing as contagious as a bad idea:

…libraries…[are] now a battleground in an unprecedented effort by parents and conservative politicians in Texas to ban books dealing with race, sexuality and gender from schools…hundreds of titles have been pulled from libraries across the state…over the objections of school librarians…who…face increasingly hostile work environments and mounting [bureaucratic] pressure to pre-emptively pull books that might draw complaints…school districts…report…more challenges this year than in the past two decades combined.  All but a few…targeted books dealing with racism or sexuality, the majority of them featuring LGBTQ characters and explicit descriptions of sex [and most titles drawn from lists circulated by pro-censorship groups]…Similar [crusades] are [disrupt]ing communities across the country…[but] the fight is particularly heated in Texas, where Republican state officials, including Gov. Greg Abbott, have gone as far as calling for criminal charges against any school staff member who provides [legal minors] with access to young adult novels that [censors] have labeled as “pornography”…

The Cop Myth (#1204)

41% of cops admit to beating their wives; some don’t stop with mere beating:

An Illinois state [cop murdered] his wife before [shoot]ing himself…Antonio Alvarez and [his estranged wife] Amanda…were found dead…on [January 24th, but]…the Illinois State Police…[thought] the [most important detail was that the murderer was neither in his clown car nor wearing his magic clown costume, rather than that Alvarez]…had long been in[credibly abusive]…and [murdered]…Amanda [because she]…planned to leave h[im] for good…She was [survived by] two children, ages 1 and 4 years…

The headline is so poorly written it makes it look like he murdered three people rather than one person plus himself.

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Interactions with artificial agents is not the same as interacting with humans.  –  Yochanan Bigman

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#799) 

The idea that words entered into a computer program constitute “verbal abuse” is like something out of a Monty Python sketch:

The smartphone app Replika lets users create chatbots…that can carry on almost-coherent text conversations…Replika has also picked up a significant following on Reddit, where members post interactions with chatbots created on the app.  A [sad] trend has emerged there: users who create [algorithms they pretend are] partners, act [toward them in a way that could be termed] abusive…[if the algorithms were alive], and post the toxic interactions online…The results can be upsetting [to those with a very loose grasp of reality who should maybe get off the internet once in a while]…Replika chatbots can’t actually experience suffering — they might seem empathetic at times, but in the end they’re nothing more than data and clever algorithms…nothing you do can actually “harm” them…Yale University research fellow Yochanan Bigman [said] “Chatbots don’t really have motives and intentions and are not autonomous or sentient.  While they might give people the impression that they are human, it’s important to keep in mind that they are not”…

The “trigger warning” claiming that typing words into an algorithm constitutes “violence” is just {chef’s kiss}.

You Were Warned (#976)

This decision was necessary to prevent a cascade of predatory lawsuits that would make the tobacco & breast implant lawsuits look reasonable and moderate in comparison:

A California appeals court sided with Salesforce…and dismissed a lawsuit by [ambulance-chasers representing] 50 [professional “survivors”] claiming that the cloud-based software company was liable for their alleged sex trafficking because it had provided services to the now-defunct classifieds site Backpage.com.  The ruling dismissed the plaintiffs’ appeal on the basis of Section 230…[just as the lower] Court [had]…

Counterfeit Comfort (#984)

We may be seeing the beginning of the end of these medieval practices:

From McClendon v. Long, decided…by the Eleventh Circuit, in an opinion by Judge Frank Hull, joined by Chief Judge William Pryor and Britt Grant:  In October 2018, two deputies from the Butts County Sheriff’s Office placed signs in the front yards of the residences of all 57 registered sex offenders within the County, warning “STOP” and “NO TRICK-OR-TREAT AT THIS ADDRESS.”  Before Halloween 2019, three registered sex offenders living in Butts County sued, seeking to enjoin the Sheriff from placing the signs again…[W]e conclude that the Sheriff’s warning signs are compelled government speech, and their placement violates a homeowner’s First Amendment rights.  Thus, we vacate the district court’s judgment in favor of the Sheriff and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion

Social Distancing (#1055)

The sex industry is a major part of the Thai economy, but you wouln’t know it from the way politicians behave:

[Last summer], sex workers and others in Thailand’s nightlife industry lined high heels up in front of the parliament building in Bangkok.  Each pair…had a note calling for the government to compensate redlight district workers who are out of work due to the pandemic.  Six months later, with bars and nightclubs still ordered to remain closed, sex workers…have not been financially supported like others in the nightlife industry…many of the workers, who call themselves the “High Heel Defenders” have been mailing boxes with pairs of heels to the government each day to “remind them of their responsibility for the people impacted by their policies.”  But the packages have been sent back…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#1185)

Cops will keep this up as long as people let them pretend that adults never like sweet flavors:

[Mobile] police [squealed and grunted at credulous reporters after they stole]…86 pounds of…marijuana…and a large number of [edibles.  Head pig] Paul Prine [oinked a lot of idiotic nonsense about how no adult in the universe eats marshmallow treats made with breakfast cereal]…“Everything is packaged to attract children,” he [oinked stupidly.  Cops are obsessed with the idea that people want to give expensive cannabis edibles to penniless brats for free, but a few reporters have grown tired of parroting the silly fantasy]…

To Molest and Rape (#1203)

Hey, female cops; how’s that collaboration with the police state working out?

[Typical and representative Wisconsin cop] Rick Gramza has been ordered to pay a [very small] fine [but] will spend no time in jail after…[repeatedly] sexually assaulting a department employee [for] several [years]…Gramza[‘s victim was afraid she’d lose her job, but sometime after he was promoted to Boss Pig she]…filed [charges against him] in November 2020…Gramza…[used the typical cop “she wanted it” defense, but also]…resigned from the department [the following] March…

Unsafe for Human Consumption (#1204)

Politicians are always happy to indulge cops’ violent fantasies:

West Virginia [politicians] advanced a bill that would make “exposing” [cops] to illicit fentanyl punishable by up to five years in prison…It’s unclear how someone might be shown to “intentionally” possess illicit fentanyl, which is often present as an adulterant in supplies of other drugs without purchasers’ awareness or consent…Mike Pushkin…the sole committee member to vote against the bill, [said]…“In a lot of cases, people think they’re buying one substance and they wind up getting fentanyl. So how can you prove they intentionally were in possession of fentanyl?”  Neither is it clear how the bill would determine “exposure” to fentanyl.  “Does it mean they’re in the same room?” Pushkin asked…overdose from passive fentanyl exposure is a myth.  The substance does not readily absorb through the skin, nor do its molecules linger in the air.  But the false claim that simply touching or being in the vicinity of airborne fentanyl can cause overdose is one frequently circulated by [cops]…

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The federal government is literally paying state and local police to circumvent state law.  –  Justin Pearson

To Molest and Rape

If only there were a concise word for “coerced into having sex”:

An Elk Grove [California cop], along with [his cop shop] and city of Elk Grove, are being sued by a woman who…was [raped by]…the [cop, whose identity the state is hiding so he can continue to prey on other vulnerable women]…in April, the woman called 911 to report the theft of her vehicle’s catalytic converter…When the [rapist, who was among the responding cops, discovered]…she was single, he took her number and [claimed] it would be used for the investigation…[but in actuality] he [used it to harass]…her…th[reatening] her son…if she did not [submit]…she complied [due to reasonable]…fear of retaliation…[but] called [a different cop shop]…to…report…the…rape [afterward]…

Thou Shalt Not (#642)

New Zealand cops apparently lack sufficient reasons to brutalize people:

New Zealand is [criminaliz]ing young people [who]…buy cigarettes in a rolling program that aims to make [every]…smoke[r in the country a criminal] by 2025…Each year the age limit will be increased until…[all Kiwis who smoke are criminalized]…As part of the strategy, cigarette prices have [been artificially] increased by 10 per cent every year for the 10 years between 2011 and 2020, but…the price hike has…creat[ed] a black market for cigarettes…

But just in case you thought politicians were capable of logic:

New Zealand has become the first country in the world to permanently legalise drug checking services, which will allow individuals to test the safety of illicit substances at festivals and other locations without the fear of legal repercussions…

So will services checking the safety of black market cigarettes be legal?

Policing for Profit (#924)

Until there are criminal penalties for this behavior, cops have no incentive to stop:

In [2016], Florida passed a law [intended to] reform…the state’s civil asset forfeiture process…But despite t[his]…Florida remains one of the most prolific practitioners of [legalized robbery, because]…local and state police can evade the new restrictions by [simply] working with the federal government [to divvy up the take]…In 2012, the Justice Department demanded that the police department in Bal Harbour, Florida—population 2,500—return $4 million in forfeited assets after audits showed the department had been misusing funds for lavish expenses, vehicles, payouts to snitches, and first-class travel…Bal Harbour police had been running a [so-called] task force…[which actually] laundered $56 million for drug cartels through undercover police bank accounts…police in the suburb of Sunrise, Florida…raked in millions by using well-paid snitches to lure cocaine buyers into town from around the country…and s[teal]ing their cash…a dozen members of the…vice squad had each made hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime pay through the stings…

Legislators Gone Wild (#1102) 

The fanatical, unhinged Guinasso and his pet fantasist are at it again, now with the financial backing of Morality in Media:

[A professional fantasist] and two…unnamed…[collaborators, backed by anti-sex extremists Morality in Media, have re-]filed a [previously-dismissed] lawsuit…against Nevada’s Governor [and others, seeking]…to put an end to legalized…prostitution in the state [because of their fantasies about it]…The lawsuit [bizarrely claims]…that…legalized prostitution…[is] “violating the thirteenth amendment’s ban on slavery”…Guinasso [also] argues that…prostitution [should be further criminalized because]…it…[allows women to] make a good living…

The Mob Rules

A district court judge has to do SCOTUS’ job because it won’t:

S.B. 8, the Texas law that bans abortion after fetal cardiac activity can be detected, relies on a novel enforcement mechanism…It authorizes lawsuits by “any person” against “any person” who performs or facilitates a prohibited abortion and promises plaintiffs at least $10,000 in “statutory damages,” plus reimbursement of their legal expenses, if they win.  That “unique and unprecedented” arrangement …violates the state constitution’s standing requirements for civil actions, the separation of powers, and the right to due process…[ruled] Travis County District Court Judge David Peeples…His 48-page order emphasizes how the law’s “completely new” enforcement mechanism favors plaintiffs over defendants and warns that the same strategy could be deployed against all sorts of politically disfavored constitutional rights…”It is one thing to authorize taxpayers or citizens to file suits against government officials to make them obey a law, and…quite another thing to incentivize citizens or persons to file suits against other private citizens to extract money from them, with no pretense of compensating the claimant for anything”…

Since IANAL, I can’t judge whether SCOTUS arguments supporting its continued refusal to take action are specious or not.  But they’re certainly convenient.

Torture Chamber (#1189)

Arizona screws think they can cure mental illness by torture:

Day after day…Rahim Muhammad slammed his head into the prison cell door…[because he] heard voices that told him to harm himself.  But instead of providing counseling…Arizona prison staff repeatedly gassed Muhammad with pepper spray…more than 40 times over eight months [in the past year]…In one two-week period, Muhammad was pepper sprayed 15 times.  Sometimes [screws] gassed him twice a day…[or] shot him at close range with a pepper ball gun…The treatment…was recently highlighted in the [class action suit over medical neglect in Arizona prisons.  Screws]…have no psychiatric training, but nevertheless told Muhammad that his frequent self-harming behavior is a choice…and…”We’ll gas you, we’ll shoot you, and we’ll tase you until you stop”…Muhammad has spent the majority of the past seven years in…[solitary confinement]…causing [even more] harm…

Creepy Coppers

Setting an example for his underlings:

The [typical and representative] East Helena [Montana] chief of police…admitted…that he distributed child pornography in 2019 using [Facebook]…William Daly Harrington…faces a mandatory minimum five years to 20 years in prison…[and] a $250,000 fine…[he was caught] in September 2020…[after] Facebook Messenger [told cops]…that the Facebook Messenger account…belong[ing] to Harrington….sent…child pornography…[to another] account…

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Who would have thought drinking dirt would make me feel so so good?

Since Mike Nesmith passed away this week, I’d like to share “The Monkees’ Christmas Episode” from 1967.  If you don’t have time for the whole thing, at least listen to their very lovely a capella performance of the 16th century Spanish Christmas carol “Riu Chiu”, starting at 20:47.  The links above the video are from Rick Horowitz, Stephen Lemons, Jesse Walker, Kevin WilsonWalter Olson, Mike Siegel, and Cop Crisis, in that order.

From the Archives

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This case is important…because of…Texas’s cavalier and contemptuous mechanism for shielding from review potential violations of constitutional rights.  –  The Firearms Policy Coalition

Above the Law  

A rare case of a government functionary actually being punished for his crimes:

A [typical and representative porcine creature] will now spend life in prison himself after [raping women he was paid by the State to haul from one cage to another like livestock]…A federal judge in Little Rock, Arkansas sentenced Eric Scott Kindlay…to life in prison plus five years.  Kindlay…[ran] his own private prison transport company, signing contracts with local jails and [other government cage stacks to haul]…people who had been arrested on out-of-state warrants.  The…woman in the 2017 case testified that Kindlay [raped]…her…on a deserted stretch of road [en route from Alabama to Arizona]…in 2014…Kindlay [orally raped another woman]…after telling her that he had gotten lost.  Kindlay [attacked both]…while [they were] handcuffed.  While only two charges of sexual assault were listed on the indictment, a total of six women testified…that…for hundreds of miles…he [repeatedly] “threatened to kill them and made sexually explicit comments that escalated in intensity and depravity”…[he raped one] woman…in a park bathroom…a[nd another]…on [a] desolate hiking trail…in the middle of a snowstorm.  The individual [victims] did not apparently know that the others existed until the trial…[the] FBI…uncovered a total of 16 women who Kindlay had either harassed or assaulted from 2012 to 2017.  Eleven of these women submitted…statements…

Dysphemisms Galore (#345)

Many “sex trafficking” fetishists are also fixated on hentai:

…the web of human trafficking is a sordid saga…of dream merchants…with the connivance of traffickers, whose…illegal immigrants, once caught in these tentacles, most often succumb to…[being] deeply absorbed in the flesh trade…

Torture Chamber (#1143)

Stop faking!

Marc Crawford was booked into a Kentucky jail in May 2017.  Just shy of a month later, he left state custody in a body bag…[after] succumb[ing] to a previously diagnosed case of lung cancer, one for which state officials and health care contracting companies re[fused] to provide him basic treatment…Correct Care Solutions LLC, one of those contracting companies, refused to ensure Crawford received his scheduled chemotherapy treatments, and s[crews refused]…to give Crawford his prescriptions, took off his pain-medication patch, and put him on psychoactive medications that did not[hing to] treat his illness.  [Screws yelled “Stop faking!]…as Crawford vomited blood, and senior s[crews]…rebuffed several requests from a lower-level employee to [actually] give him [his prescribed medication]…

A Broker in Pillage (#1161)

Philadelphia has many different ways to rob its citizens:

Philadelphia’s notorious civil forfeiture program…ended in 2018 as a result of a 2014 class action lawsuit filed by the Institute for Justice…The organization…recently surveyed 407 of the 30,000 people whose property was seized under Philadelphia’s program…the median value of seized items…was just $600.  More than two-thirds…were valued at $1,800 or less.  The median value of all property seized in a single case was $1,370.  Cash seizures…involved amounts as low as $25.  The cops even [stole] “a cologne gift set worth $20″ and a pair of crutches…In three-quarters of the cases…owners were either never arrested, never charged, or never convicted.  Yet…only 43 percent of [victims]…succeeded…[in getting] their property back…at a median cost of $3,500…and…[taking] nine months on average.  Some had to wait years…”just four ZIP codes in the city’s center” accounted for 57 percent of Philadelphia forfeitures.  The median income in those neighborhoods ranged from $16,000 to $30,000…[and] residents were mainly black or Hispanic…owners of seized property also were more likely to be unemployed and to earn less than $50,000 a year.  They were less likely to have college degrees and less likely to own a home…

The Mob Rules

I wish more people understood the power of legal precedent this well:

The Firearms Policy Coalition, a national gun rights outfit, filed a friend of the court brief at the U.S. Supreme Court…in support of Whole Woman’s Health, the abortion rights group that is leading the legal fight against…the sweeping Texas anti-abortion law that recently went into effect.  “The approach used by Texas to avoid pre-enforcement review of its restriction on abortion and its delegation of enforcement to private litigants…could just as easily be used by other States to restrict First and Second Amendment rights or, indeed, virtually any settled or debated constitutional right.”  The Firearms Policy Coalition “takes no position on whether abortion should be protected by the Constitution,” the brief stated, “but believes that the judicial review of restrictions on established constitutional rights, especially those protected under this Court’s cases, cannot be circumvented in the manner used by Texas”…

I Spy (#1171)

Oh, what a surprise:

Governments were already discussing how to misuse…[cell phone] scanning technology even before Apple announced its plans…[to] scan iPhones for child sexual abuse materials…[it was obvious] that…governments [would] insist…the company scan for other types of images, and there now seems good evidence for this [despite]…Apple[‘s pretense] that it had a [magical politician-proof] safeguard in place to…prevent [governmental] misuse…such promises are impossible to keep…[because] any government could pass a law requiring tech companies to use their available capabilities (e.g., the CSAM scanning system) to look for images they say are associated with terrorism, or any type of political opposition…A group of security researchers says that the European Union [already] planned to use this technology to scan for other types of images even before Apple revealed that it had developed its own system…

Dangerous Speech (#1172)

Remember how I pointed out that the government couldn’t win this fairly?

Defense attorneys in the Lacey/Larkin case…argue in a new motion that the government willfully ignored federal Judge Susan Brnovich’s instructions during the pair’s recent trial in Phoenix.  Instead, prosecutors doubled down on false accusations of sex trafficking and child sex trafficking, goading the defense into calling for a mistrial…the motion calls on Brnovich to dismiss the case with prejudice [because] in provoking the mistrial, the prosecution violated the double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment…the feds’ mistrial shenanigans were part of “a pattern of repeated and brazen government misconduct,” [intentionally] committed by “seasoned prosecutors”…And because the government has “seized virtually all of the defendants’ assets” — including money set aside for defense costs — the mistrial leaves the defendants in an “untenable” financial position…A new trial would favor the government…allowing it “a retooling of its faltering case”…

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